Education helpful for corrections nursing?

  1. I'm in my first year as a nurse. I work in a busy OR. I like it but I think I can do more, especially intellectually. I'm a quick study and a responsible employee- my supervisors love me and consider me a rising star. I have at least another year in my contract, maybe 2. In that time, I may love it more than I do now, but I was interested in corrections nursing before graduating and I still am. Maybe it will be an option for a specialty change. My question now is- I have at least a year. Job/experience change is not feasible, but I do have college benefits leftover from the military. I started my BSN but honestly, I hate it. If they make BSNs manadator for nurses..well...I'll be looking for a new career. I think experience and attitude are worth a degree anyhow. But- is there some other degree that might help? I have been looking at health sciences but it doesn't look different from a BSN. What about corrections/criminal justice? Would that make me a slightly better candidate in lieu of my limited clinical skills transferrable from the OR?
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    Joined: Feb '11; Posts: 23; Likes: 15


  3. by   Rob72
    Depends on what you're wanting to do. Outside of hard sciences, BS degrees are pretty much all BS, no different than the BSN.

    I worked as a CO, and as an EMT, so I took a few CJ courses as fillers, during my nursing program. There are nurses in LE and Corrections, there are also LE and COs who are nurses, it just depends on what type of practice you want.

    Going more into CJ, you will find your psych work the most valuable, but otherwise your nursing work won't be overly relevant.

    You could possibly be on the TRT (Tactical Response Team) or whatever your facility calls it as an RN, which offers some variety. You could see about a degree in psychology or sociology, working as a counsellor or "social integration specialist".

    I know what you mean- I hate hoop jumping, taking courses that mean nothing to practical practice, but if you want to advance...
  4. by   katkonk
    Re: the BS degree, yes you should get one. I hear this all the time from people who do not want to put in the effort to get a degree. Attitude is important, but it doesn't matter what YOU think is important. It matters what the EMPLOYER thinks is important. And there is a reason why employers value a BS degree. Because it means you are more EDUCATED. They want people who are educated, and hopefully have more in-depth nursing training. A degree also means that you are much more likely to be able to move into managment, which you might want to do five or ten years down the road. The OR will do you no good if your goal is correctional nursing. Primary care and emergency care is where it's at. If you want to supplement your education to make yourself more valuable to a corrections unit, earn your EMT, and even much better earn a Paramedic license. If you do not want to pursue the degree, the paramedic license will open many doors. In fact, truthfully, more doors than a BSN probably. So, instead of putting your "extra" time to use studying in college, get on the ambulance and attend the Paramedic classes, and you should be much better prepared for corrections. Also, any advanced training in pharmacology you can get will serve you well when providing primary care for inmates. If you spend two years working in OR, you will begin to forget your pharmacology knowledge, and you will need every bit of it when working with inmates. As noted previously, psych, especially more abnormal psych helps as well. Knowing the psych meds, classes, what they are for, what they treat, etc. is very important.